Tag Archives: Transportation Safety Board of Canada

CANADA: DOT-111 tank cars can’t transport crude oil as of Nov. 1

Repost from Sudbury.com

Garneau confirms DOT-111 cars will not be able to transport crude oil as of November 1

By Canadian Press, Jul 26, 2016 8:26 AM
pmc101352009
Candian Transport Minister Marc Garneau

MONTREAL — Canada will put a stop to the transport of crude oil by older and less crash-resistant tanker rail cars earlier than scheduled, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced Monday, however, the timeline for ending similar transportation of all other flammable liquids remains the same.

As of Nov. 1, crude oil in Canada will no longer be transported in DOT-111 tankers — the same kind of rail car that was involved in the Lac-Megantic tragedy in which 47 people died three years ago.

The DOT-111 cars without thermal layers of protection were scheduled to be phased out for the use of crude oil by the previous Conservative government by May 2017.

DOT-111s with thermal protection were to be taken off for oil transport by March 2018.

The new directives are for crude oil only, Garneau said, adding the phase-out deadline for DOT-111s carrying other flammable liquids is 2025.

Garneau said while he was able to accelerate the phase-out of DOT-111s for crude, the government needs to be “realistic” about other materials.

“The reality is that in this country we transport a huge amount by rail — hundreds of billions of dollars worth a year — and you can’t do everything in one shot,” he told a news conference.

“Here we have the opportunity to do something very concrete on the crude oil side — which is extremely important — and I am very proud of it.”

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said in its report on the Lac-Megantic crash that until older and less crash-resistant tanker cars “are no longer used to transport flammable liquids and a more robust tank car standard with enhanced protection is set for North America, the risk will remain.”

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre saluted Garneau’s announcement, saying “when we talk about (rail) safety we have to show it, we have to walk the talk.”

Vicki Balance with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said the oil industry knew the Liberals were considering making changes but didn’t know what they were going to be.

“(The announcement) brings some certainty and predictability for us, which is positive,” she said.

On July 6, 2013, a runaway freight train pulling 72 crude-oil laden DOT-111s derailed and exploded, killing 47 people and destroying part of downtown Lac-Megantic.

In response, the U.S. and Canada created a series of new regulations to make rail transport of hazardous materials safer.

Former Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and her U.S. counterpart Anthony Foxx in May 2015 announced new regulations for tanker cars made after Oct. 1 of that year, for transporting liquid dangerous goods across the continent.

The new cars, known as TC-177s in Canada, are made of thicker steel than the DOT-111s and have other added safety measures.

Raitt and Fox also announced that all DOT-111s would have to retrofitted or phased out for the use of crude oil by 2018 and all other rail cars transporting any dangerous, flammable liquid would have to meet new safety requirements by 2025.

Garneau said Monday the new rules will only apply to Canada.

He said no DOT-111 train originating from the U.S. and carrying crude oil will be able to cross into Canada after Nov. 1, and violators will face financial penalties, but he didn’t say how much they would be.

Garneau said there are about 30,000 DOT-111s without a thermal layer transporting crude oil on railways in North America. He didn’t have a precise number for the cars with the protective layer.

    San Jose State’s Spartan Daily on last week’s derailment: University is in potential impact zone

    Repost from The Spartan Daily at San Jose State University
    [Quote: “Last Wednesday a Union Pacific train pulling empty gravel cars derailed near Taylor and Seventh streets in Japantown. There were no injuries, but stalled traffic forced public transit to reroute, according to a report by NBC Bay Area.”   Editor:  See also the NBC report.  – RS]

    Trains will bring oil through Downtown San Jose

    By Jeremy Cummings Mar 18, 2015 2:36 am

    Despite growing public opposition to transportation of crude oil by rail since serious accidents such as the Lac-Megantic crash in 2013 a proposal to the Santa Maria Planning Commission might bring a crude oil train directly through Downtown San Jose.

    Jill and Jack Sardegna, two concerned San Jose natives who live close to the train tracks, worry about pollution and other risks the trains could bring.

    “We didn’t think that this was a possibility here, and certainly not through a residential area,” Jill Sardegna said, “But here it is.”

    San Jose State is in the potential impact zone of fires that could result from a derailment downtown, according to blast-zone.org, but the school’s administration is unprepared at this point to respond to such an event, according to SJSU Chief of Staff Stacy Gleixner at a press conference with student media last Wednesday.

    “I don’t think we’ve given thought yet to what kind of precautions we might need to have in place,” Gleixner said.

    The train, run by Union Pacific Railroad, will carry oil to the Phillips 66 refinery in San Luis Obispo County and was proposed in 2013.

    According to a draft of the proposal’s environmental impact report on slocounty.ca.gov, up to five 80-car trains will run to the Mesa refinery a week.

    The commission has the final say on whether or not the oil trains will run, a decision which will impact some citizens’ lives all throughout California, according to Council member Ash Kalra.

    Safety risks of oil trains

    Complete safety cannot be guaranteed when transporting oil by rail, according to Francisco J. Castillo, director of corporate relations and media at Union Pacific Railroad.

    Castillo said although oil by rail arrives safely 99.99 percent of the time, there is a risk associated with this shipping method as there is with any other.

    In July 2013 an oil train derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada, killing 47 and causing significant damage to the city.

    The Transportation Safety Board of Canada reported that this crash was a result of simple human error. A conductor failed to set the train’s brakes correctly, allowing it to run out of control into the town center.

    Data from a report released by environmental watchdog Mesa Refinery Watch Group shows that approximately 462,000 gallons of crude oil are confirmed to have spilled in the United States alone since 2013.

    Unconfirmed amounts of oil have been spilled in other derailments such as one that occurred in Aliceville, Alabama, in December 2013.

    The most commonly used tank car by the Department of Transportation is the DOT-111.

    According to data from dot111.org and 2014 North American Freight Railcar review, DOT-111s make up approximately 75 percent of the North American Rail Fleet.

    These tank cars are a big concern to environmental groups such as the Mesa Refinery Watch Group, which say DOT-111s follow outdated safety standards and leak large quantities of hazardous materials during transit.

    Carol Ziegler, a representative of Phillips 66, said all of the cars in its fleet meet the newest safety standards for oil transportation.

    Local Impact

    Last Wednesday a Union Pacific train pulling empty gravel cars derailed near Taylor and Seventh streets in Japantown.

    There were no injuries, but stalled traffic forced public transit to reroute, according to a report by NBC Bay Area.

    The Lac-Megantic accident shows the potential consequences of an oil train derailing in a populated area.

    According to San Jose Fire Department Chief Curtis Jacobsen, San Jose Fire is not equipped to contain the fires that could result from a derailment.

    The Sardegnas are worried by the lack of publicized information about this issue, and have contacted multiple news outlets including the Mercury News trying to get the word out.

    “This is a big concern for us that students don’t even know this is happening,” Jill Sardegna said.

    Councilmember Kalra said it’s important for SJSU students to educate themselves about this and other issues so they might make a difference going into the future.

      Canada Transport Watchdog to Introduce New Tank Cars Ahead of Schedule

      Repost from Insurance Journal (Reuters)

      Canada Transport Watchdog to Introduce New Tank Cars Ahead of Schedule

      By David Ljunggren | March 18, 2015
      RTR4PZHU
      IN PHOTO: Tanker rail cars burn after a crude oil train derailment 50 miles (80 km) south of Timmins, Ontario, in this picture from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada taken in Gogama, Ontario, February 16, 2015. Canadian National Railway Co is still cleaning up spilled oil and removing damaged rail cars after a weekend derailment on its line at a remote site. The company said 29 of 100 cars on the train heading from Alberta’s tar sands to eastern Ontario derailed late on Saturday and seven caught fire. There were no injuries. Picture taken February 16, 2015. REUTERS/Transportation Safety Board of Canada/Handout via Reuters

      Canada’s transportation watchdog said that recent fiery derailments of trains hauling crude oil mean a new generation of stronger tanker wagons should be introduced ahead of schedule.

      The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is probing two accidents within the last month involving Canadian National Railway Co. oil trains which came off the tracks and caught fire near the small northern Ontario town of Gogama.

      Both trains were hauling CPC-1232 crude tankers, meant to be safer than the older DOT-111 models that blew up in downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec in 2013, killing 47 people. Canada last week unveiled tough standards for a new generation of tanker cars that would replace the CPC-1232s by 2025 at the latest.

      “While the proposed standards look promising, the TSB has concerns about the implementation timeline, given initial observations of the performance of CPC-1232 cars in recent derailments,” the agency said in a release.

      “If older tank cars, including the CPC-1232 cars, are not phased out sooner, then the regulator and industry need to take more steps to reduce the risk of derailments or consequences following a derailment carrying flammable liquids,” it said, but gave no details.

      The agency said track failures may have played a role in each of the Gogama derailments as well as in the case of an oil train that left the tracks near Minnipuka, also in northern Ontario. No crude caught fire in that accident.

      The TSB has issued a safety advisory letter asking the federal transport ministry to review the risk assessments conducted for the area.

      “Petroleum crude oil unit trains transporting heavily-loaded tank cars will tend to impart higher than usual forces to the track infrastructure during their operation,” said the agency.

      “These higher forces expose any weaknesses that may be present in the track structure, making the track more susceptible to failure.”

      It noted trains traveling in the area were under orders to travel slowly to protect against various infrastructure and track maintenance issues.

      CN spokesman Jim Feeny said the company “has enhanced its already rigorous infrastructure and mechanical inspection procedures on this northern Ontario rail corridor.”

      The office of Transport Minister Lisa Raitt – which has overall responsibility for regulating the rail industry – was not immediately available for comment.

      (Additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

      Related article:
      Canada Proposes Tough New Oil Tank Car Standards